Erie SeaWolves 7, Altoona Curve 6
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The Curve fell behind early and came close, but could not catch up to Erie, despite out-hitting them 9-8. Erie jumped out to a big lead with a 4-run top of the 1st. A triple, a walk, and a single brought in the first run off starter Bryan Morris. A 3-run homer followed, and the Curve fell into an early hole.
The Curve got one run right back in the bottom of the 1st. 2B Brock Holt and CF Starling Marte began the inning with back-to-back walks. A fly out by SS Jordy Mercer let Holt tag up and advance to third. Holt scored on LF Quincy Latimore’s ground out to second. They added another run in the 2nd, starting with a single by 3B Jeremy Farrell. A ground out by DH Jose Hernandez moved Farrell up to second base. RF Brad Chalk walked, then Holt drove in Farrell with a single lined into right field. Chalk also tried to score from first, but he was out at the plate on the throw in from right field. The Curve had cut the lead in half, 4-2.
In the bottom of the 4th, the Curve tied the score. Farrell led off with his second single of the game, and he advanced to second base on a wild pitch. Hernandez and Chalk both walked to load the bases with one out. Farrell was forced in when Holt was hit by a pitch. Hernandez scored on an RBI grounder by Marte, and the game was tied at 4-4.
After giving up the runs in the 1st inning, Morris gave up singles in the 2nd and 4th inning, and a walk in the 3rd, but did not let another run score. Jared Hughes relieved Morris, who had thrown 65 pitches (41 strikes), to begin the 5th. The SeaWolves got to Hughes quickly, taking advantage of walks. A walk and a sacrifice bunt put the first batter of the inning onto second base, and he scored on an RBI single. That runner stole both second and third bases, then scored on a sacrifice fly, to give Erie a 6-4 lead. Hughes also gave up a run in the 6th, on a single and an RBI double, increasing the lead to 7-4.
The Curve got closer in the 7th. Holt reached base on a fielding error, and a passed ball moved him up to second base. Latimore plated Holt with a line drive into center field, and then Latimore went to second base on a balk. 1B Matt Curry also lined into center field for a double, scoring Latimore from second base. That put the Curve within one run, 7-6.
The remainder of the Erie batters went down in order. Matt McSwain retired 6 batters in order in the 7th and 8th. Then Donnie Veal retired the side in order in the 9th. Unfortunately, while the Curve put runners on base, they could not score. Farrell and Sanchez led off the 8th with back-to-back singles, and Hernandez’s sacrifice bunt put both into scoring position, but the inning ended with both still on base. The Curve were retired in order in the 9th, unable to catch up.